Pelagic men slam Commission over herring licences
Published on: 7th March 2003
THE Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association has criticised European Commission "incompetence" over this year’s Atlanto-Scandian herring (ASH) fishery licences.
The association says in a deal between the EU and Norway on 21 February, the EU gained additional access for its pelagic fleet to fish Atlanto-Scandian herring in Norwegian waters in return for a quota transfer.
The Association was initially told the UK would see its licences increased from 9 in 2002 to 24. But the Commission failed to ‘nail down’ the licence number it would receive and Norway refused to come up with the number anticipated.
On 28 February, after further talks with Norway, the UK had to accept 17 entitlements, 13 of which could be used at any one time.
Derek Duthie, pelagic association secretary said:“Despite the final number of licences for the 2003 ASH fishery now seemingly being agreed between the EU and Norway, some vessels have still not been given the go-ahead to fish in Norwegian waters. So far only 11 UK licences have been activated and one vessel lay in a Norwegian port for the best part of a week waiting for the administrators to process its application. It has still not received a licence.
“This has been a huge bungle by the Commission. First it slipped up by not getting the number of licences written into the initial ASH agreement and now it is holding up the issue of licences because of its own unnecessary bureaucracy.”